Suffused with the bargain-basement blandness of an Afterschool Special, "Breakfast with Scot" is the kind of gay-themed pic that won't ruffle the feathers of a granny in Manitoba, though it's bound to make more discerning auds groan.

Suffused with the bargain-basement blandness of an Afterschool Special, “Breakfast with Scot” is the kind of gay-themed pic that won’t ruffle the feathers of a granny in Manitoba, though it’s bound to make more discerning auds groan. Weaving professional hockey into the story of a painfully “normal” (i.e., straight-acting) gay couple forced to look after an effeminate 11-year-old, helmer Laurie Lynd determinedly eliminates any edge, while Sean Reycraft’s stale script adds to a “Breakfast” not worth the calories.

Pic caused a stir pre-release back in the fall when the National Hockey League and the Toronto Maple Leafs granted use of their names and logos, creating a ruckus among antigay activists who accused the organizations of “promoting homosexualization of small children.” While the NHL’s stance deserves praise, it’s a shame the vehicle for their amenability is so weak.

When an injury forces professional hockey player Eric (Tom Cavanagh) off the Maple Leafs, he turns to sportscasting, continuing to hide his homosexuality from most co-workers. His equally colorless partner Sam (Ben Shenkman) learns that irresponsible brother Billy (Colin Cunningham) has been made guardian of an orphan, but the kid is in social-services limbo until Billy can be coaxed back to Toronto from Brazil. In the meantime, Sam convinces the reluctant Eric to welcome Scot (Noah Bernett) into their home.

Much to Eric’s embarrassment, Scot dresses in girlish clothes, favors jewelry and makeup, and loves musicals: in other words, the polar opposite of Eric and Sam’s version of “gay.” Naturally there’s friction, but bonding begins when Scot agrees to join the school hockey team, more as a way of getting closer to neighbor Ryan (Dylan Everett) than for any affinity to the sport. By the time Billy arrives at Christmas, no one is ready for Scot to leave.

There’s zero chemistry between Cavanagh and Shenkman, whose outward displays of affection are limited to one extremely chaste kiss — nothing to trouble, let alone shock, the most macho of hockey fans. Is reducing a gay couple to the wettest of personalities the way to counter homophobia? Even more embarrassing is the half-hearted sissifying of Scot: throwing a feather boa on Bernett and making him unconvincingly spout convoluted lines hardly makes him convincingly swish.

Visuals mimic a drab suburban dullness — Lynd showed more flair in some of his award-winning shorts — and topping it all with a feel-good family values Christmas adds additional tons of processed sugar onto the already overly sweet filling. Music, including disco themes, increases the sense that the pic was shot sometime in late 1970s, with a concomitant degree of unsophistication.

Breakfast With Scot

Canada

Production

A Capri Releasing presentation of a Miracle Pictures production. Produced by Paul Brown. Executive producers, Bob Rousseau, Howard Rosenman, Nadine Schiff. Directed by Laurie Lynd. Screenplay by Sean Reycraft, based on the novel by Michael Downing.

Crew

Camera (color), David Makin; editor, Susan Shipton; music, Robert Carli; production designer, Tamara Deverell; art director, Jason Graham; costume designer, Alexander Reda; sound, Jane Tattersall, Robert Fletcher; line producer, Stephen Traynor; associate producer, Anne Mackenzie; casting, Forrest and Forrest Casting, Karen Margiotta. Reviewed at Turin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (out of competition), April 22, 2008 (Also in Toronto, Palm Springs film festivals.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Tom Cavanagh, Ben Shenkman, Noah Bernett, Graham Greene, Fiona Reid, Jeananne Goossen, Colin Cunningham, Benz Antoine, Dylan Everett, Alexander Franks, Vanessa Thompson, Anna Silk, Megan Follows, Travis Ferris, Kathryn Haggis, Sheila McCarthy, Robin Brule, Shauna MacDonald, Benjamin Morehead.
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